Yui was sitting at her dining table again with a glass of wine clutched in her hand. She stared blankly at it and traced her dead gaze to the rest of the arid apartment. It was quite spacious and could easily house four people. The furniture and appliances were all meticulously chosen to be functional yet aesthetically pleasing if they weren’t being used like an Ikea showroom. With enough light, you’d feel like you were modelling in the latest home décor magazine. Yet, the room was pitch-black save for the sliver of sunlight cracking through the living room curtains thus creating a thin bright line stretched across the white marble floor. It’s been four years since Yui last switched on the light. In fact, it’s been months since she last took a shower. The smell didn’t bother her and pretty much nothing could. The numbness had taken over her.
She looked back at her wine glass and inspected its curvature. The wine glass was a part of a six-piece collection. They were imported straight from an Italian dinnerware company that have been existing for over 200 years. The company garnered such a reputation over the centuries they decided to make certificates of authenticity for their products. Yui loved that idea at first, but now she just saw it as a vessel for her wine. Sometimes, she thought she was one too. She downed the remaining contents, ignored the fact that each serving would normally cost ¥2,000, and embraced the feeling that the alcohol gave her. Her skeleton hand crept over to the wine bottle across the counter. She peered up to see that a good 10 bottles were grouped together with the newly opened one nestled right at the front. She fingered the mouth of the bottle and tipped it towards her wine glass. A stream of seemingly black liquid sloshed out with some drops escaping and landing onto her wine-stained Cherry wood table. She stopped halfway through drinking when she heard a noise in the living room. She licked her lips, put down the glass, and looked for the source of the noise.
“Yui. You need to take a bath. When was the last time you let water touch you? It’s only been wine these past months.” A man in a full business suit was standing in the middle of the living room. Yui could tell who it was even at her state.
“Itsuki. A bath sounds nice, but it doesn’t make me forget our dead child.”
That stabbed him right in the face. He clenched his teeth holding in his pain and anger.
Their child was everything to them. For 10 beautiful and fulfilling years, they had her. She was 10 when she disappeared then 11 when they found her. The man who abducted then raped her for three hundread and sixty five days got bored. He gave her up. She was found naked and lying by the entrance of a police station about 500km away from home. The couple were ecstatic to have her back. They did everything to bring her back, but she remained silent. They didn’t know it, but she had died in that man’s bed. She died in his car. She died in his tent. She died in public bathrooms. All of her dreams were dashed like a single red brush stroke across Mona Lisa’s smile.
She hung herself with the doorknob of her room when she was 12. It took Itsuki and Yui two days to find out that she was sitting lifelessly in her Sailor Moon infested room. They had thought that she had lost her appetite, and that was pretty frequent. Little did they know that they were living with the body of their dead daughter for two days with note on her lap saying ごめ. He cried his soul out for days, but after a few months, he got a hold of himself. However, something happened to Yui. She was the life in their group of friends, the fresh spring breeze, and the bright bell that would toll during Christmas. Her laugh was like a music that birds would fly to. Now, she was a dark gaping hole without a bottom. The glimmer in her eyes had completely extinguished like a frozen oil lamp abandoned in the tundra. The only things that came out of her were words so sharp they could slice your soul if you weren’t careful.
“Yes. A bath won’t bring her back. But not everything must be about her.”
“I gave her my everything!” Yui slammed her free hand on the table. The sound rang across the room like a film slate being slapped at the end of a take. “You can’t tell me that everything can’t be about her. She was everything. Why aren’t you feeling the way I feel? Why aren’t you suffering?!”
“Of course I’m suffering!” He spat back. “I’m not some sort of fucking android! I feel pain! Every bit of it! I’m not programmed to see everything as Hinata!”
He immediately regretted what he said and held his head down. As he was about to apologise, she stood up. He rushed to support her weight as she wobbled to her feet. She took his hand, inched into the kitchen, and fumbled for three medicine bottles then swallowed a pill from each with a swig of wine.
“You’re gonna kill your liver,” he said softly. His tone felt like a father lovingly scolding his daughter.
“Wouldn’t that be better, Itsuki?” She turned to him. He saw nothing in her eyes. There was absolutely nothing left inside. “Are you going on another business trip?”
They both looked into the living room where three large suitcases sat. He guided her back to the dining table, and they both sat down. He looked into her eyes, but she just stared blankly at his suit. He breathed in deep and said, “I’m leaving you, Yui.”
He could see her chest rising and dropping faster, and her eyes were darting around more. He was hoping for any kind of response in the past four years just not through this circumstance. He waited for her to say something but after a while, the silence engulfed them both. He reached out and started stroking her head. He kissed her head and whispered, “I love you, Yui.”
“Why are you leaving me then?” She looked up to him with red eyes. Tears were trickling down her flushed cheeks. After four years, Yui finally showed some emotion. “You love me, but you’re leaving me.”
“Do you still love me, Yui? Even after what happened? Do you still have love inside you?”
Yui raised her palms, and the light from the curtain cut across them. “The love I have for you was in Hinata. When I looked at her, I saw you. When I look at you, you remind me of her. You’re killing her again if you leave me. Don’t you see her when you see me?”
“No. No I don’t. Both of you have died already. I’d tried saving you, Yui. But, now, I have to save myself before you swallow me completely. I can’t save you if you won’t let me.”
This short story has been in a WIP for yeeeeeears. I don’t remember when I started this, but it was definitely WAY before the pandemic. I don’t know why I decided to finish it today. But here it is! Part 2 comes… soon?